‘Major concern’ as developer returns with new plan for 150 houses in Saffron Walden

Aerial view of site on Thaxted Road. Picture: Kier Living Limited

Aerial view of site on Thaxted Road. Picture: Kier Living Limited - Credit: Archant

Political party Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) says it has major concerns about a new planning application by a developer to build 150 houses in Saffron Walden.

Previous development of the site, which is on farmland on Thaxted Road, was opposed by residents and the town council, rejected by Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee, found ‘unsound’ by the local plan inspector in 2014 and then refused by a planning inspector at appeal in 2015.

The main reasons for the refusal to allow 300 houses to be built on the land were the impact to already congested roads, associated increases to pollution levels from traffic and loss of high-quality agricultural land.

The new application, submitted by Kier, has halved the number of houses for the site.

R4U’s Paul Gadd, a councillor on Saffron Walden Town Council, said: “Fundamentally this application is worse than Kier’s previous one. Even though this application is for fewer homes, since the previous refusals UDC has approved many hundreds more new homes on the inaccessible east of Saffron Walden.

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“That means that the pollution and traffic situation is in fact already much worse. Because of that, Essex County Council has made it crystal clear that the east of town can only take 150 more homes without a new east-west bypass, and none is proposed.

“Since then UDC has approved more than half of that number, so the town just can’t take the number of houses that Kier is proposing.”

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“And residents may have also read that UDC received money from Stansted Airport to consider their expansion plans.

“So one of our R4U councillors has written to UDC to ask them if Kier has also paid them any money for ‘consideration’ of their various planning applications. We await their response.

“When there are better options for new homes, residents should be told why UDC is still favouring this thrice rejected site.”

A spokesman for UDC said: “The council has received a planning application for this site for 150 homes and it is currently being considered along with any representations made. At present we anticipate the application going to planning committee for decision in July.”

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